Calm and collected: Tryon Collective on noise, art and improvisation

The prestigious mediums of visual art and music have long waged influence upon each other. Groups like Manchester’s Tryon Collective, a three-piece comprising of artist Luca Shaw, drummer George Grundy and guitarist Sean Rogan, place equal importance on both, allowing visual stimuli to influence their musical improvisation and compositional parameters to influence their visual art work. Ahead of a scientific discussion with Andrew McCormack, the jazz pianist whom they support at Band on the Wall on 1st February, we caught up with the group to discuss the origins of their collective, their approach to creativity and their plans for supporting Andrew McCormack’s Graviton at Band on the Wall.

When did Tryon Collective begin, what brought the three of you together and had you any founding principles that have remain vital to your work?

Tryon has existed for years in some way or another. It only became a conscious project when we found ourselves repeatedly returning to the same idea; improvising music and exploring the relationship this process has with visual art making. A key principle for us is the idea of ‘Free Play’, by placing trust in improvisation and making in the present.

Are there any personal or collective influences that you carry into the work you create as a collective?

The early collaborations of Ornette Coleman and Jackson Pollock that unhinged the necessity for clarity in form or composition showed many generations since, the immersive and less literal nature of the improvised aesthetic. The connection between medias is the array of interpretations of a certain moment, that contribute to a wider frame of aesthetic experience. Musically, we take a lot from jazz, electronic, and noise music. The latter has taught us a lot about the musical development of ‘non-musical’ material, for example non-pitched sounds and textures, and experimenting with the use of space.

Artists that inspire Luca’s work outside of Tryon are different in many ways, as those inspirations are often means to an end, the inspirations for Tryon are more investigative, real time artists with a processual approach. An example would be fellow Manchester based Naomi Kendrick who has often engaged in performance work alongside musicians.

You had some abstract prints on stage with you when supporting Yorkston/Thorne/Khan earlier in the year, do those inspire the direction you take the music and are they a fixture for every live performance?

Every performance, rehearsal and encounter tends to be different. Sometimes the visuals inspire the sounds and vice versa. That particular performance we discussed a theme prior to the performance and Luca created visuals in response to this theme, not focusing too much on the idea that they would stimulate and accompany music. When we decide to work from visuals the music takes on a certain shape relative to them, but usually also with influence from connections made between the visuals and whatever we have thought about or even discussed prior to the performance. Working from visuals in live performance is something we would like to incorporate more and more, and our recent work outside of performance has been centred around working on the audio and visual in real time, so both can influence each other equally and naturally.

What have you planned for your set supporting Andrew McCormack’s Graviton and is his recent studio album, featuring Shabaka Hutchings and Anton Eger among others, one you’ve had a listen to?

We are currently interested in ways to centre our work around an idea that is relevant to our time, however vaguely. We are looking at expanding our mediums technologically, in particular using live sampling and processing to blur the lines between not only acoustic and digital sounds, but between the instruments on stage. We are also constantly working on different ways to integrate the sound with the visual. We’ve checked out Andrew’s Graviton album and are honoured to be able to support such important figures of the music.

You’ve got projects including Diving Station and Jazz at the Deli Lama alongside the band and your studies; what does 2018 have in store and what are you looking forward to?

We play together in a quartet called ‘Philia’, who are hoping to keep performing and record some material soon. Diving Station are releasing a second EP around spring/summer time, we’ll be finishing our studies around then too. As for Tryon, we hope to keep making and improvising, without the plight of the young artist in today’s world forcing us out of the habit of experimenting out of our own interest and not the need for success.

Get your tickets for Andrew McCormack’s Graviton and Tryon Collective here.

Photos by oliverpringle.com

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